Thursday, July 5, 2012
Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - Blog Tour
Karen Thompson Walker (website | facebook | twitter)
Publisher: Random House (June 2012. 288p. $26. ISBN 978-0-8129-9297-7)
Source: TLC Book Tours/Publishers
Genre: Science Fiction (days grow longer)
Buy It: Amazon | Indiebound
Tour Stops: TLC Book Tours
Julia looks back to the fall of her eleventh year when the days started getting longer. The slowing was short at first, only an additional 56 minutes, but gradually each day became longer and longer. Soon the people are divided into Real Time people, who used the rising and setting of the sun to determine activities, and Clock People, who stuck with 12 hours for a morning and 12 hours for a night, no matter the lightness or darkness of outdoors. Some people can handle the incessant hours of daylight but for some, it causes mental and physical breakdowns. Even the animals aren't spared in the environmental nightmare. And, of course, whatever was hidden by darkness, comes to light.
Age of Miracles moves slowly, perhaps to mimic the slowing of time in the book. "Time was harder to waste. The pace of living seemed to slow." There was a lot of telling. This happened. This happened. This happened. I felt as if I was reading this through a haze. Intentional? Julia's character felt older to me, I know she was looking back over a decade and that clouded her memories. How do we tell the story of our younger selves without the insight of now? That literary technique stopped me from getting to know Julia and so I didn't care about her story as much as I could have. Life as We Knew It (Susan Beth Pfeffer, 2008 ) takes on an environmental change, the moon getting too close to the earth due to a meteorite, and recounts the effects of this change through diary entries left by Miranda, the main character. Using the diary as device gave the story a sense of immediacy, a sort of "you where there" feeling that Age of Miracles lacked for me.
Watching how the time changes affects everything, we see the evolution from just a little worry to realizing that we can't fix this and need to deal with it. The family becomes Clock people, buying blackout curtains, going to school/work in the middle of darkness (can we still call it night if it's actually 7am?) doing their best to act as if everything is normal. This separation of people eventually becomes a physical one as the Clock people become suspicious of the Real Time people and start to treat them differently. I enjoyed exploring the idea of Clock People vs. Real Time People. Walker looked at the ways our biological clocks could change. Or not. Do we need a certain amount of sunlight? What about our food sources? Could we get the same nutritional value, or even output, using artificial means? I also liked when the people skipped a day, just like Samoa did December 30, 2011!